November 4 School Board Meeting Talking Points
Posted on 11/04/2020
Superintendent Walts
  1. Good evening. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with an update on health metrics and our Return to School Buildings Plan. 
  2. Since school began, PWCS has reported more than 130 positive cases of the COVID-19 virus. Some of those cases have affected individuals currently working or attending school in-person resulting in a number of quarantines, and many of those cases have been for individuals working or learning virtually. 
  3. It is important to note that as we prepare to bring students back for in-person learning next week, had all of these cases been in-person cases, we would have had people in quarantine at various times at 71 schools or offices in our Division, which is more than half of our total schools. 
  4. We continue to monitor local health metrics, and the trends are not positive, as COVID cases grow locally, regionally, and nationally. 
  5. Last week, Prince William County entered the red on one of the three primary core indicators. PWCS total number of new cases per 100,000 persons within the past 14 days was above 223 as of Monday; anything above 200 is considered the highest risk for that primary indicator. 
  6. It is my pleasure to introduce Teresa Polk, supervisor of student health, who will share more information on the health metrics. 
  7. Thank you, Ms. Polk. It is important to note that should multiple primary indicators or secondary indicators enter into the highest risk category, we may enter Phase I guidance, which is the most restrictive for allowing in-person teaching and learning. 
  8. We will continue to review and share local health metrics on our COVID dashboard at www.pwcs.edu and make any adjustments to our plans to return students to the school buildings if needed. 
  9. At this time, I am not making any changes to our current plan to implement the 50 percent hybrid model as scheduled. 
  10. PWCS will be conducting surveys beginning November 16 to gather feedback from parents, students, and teachers about their experiences with virtual learning in the first quarter. These surveys will provide PWCS with information to further refine virtual and hybrid learning as needed moving forward. 
  11. Many parents and guardians have asked to have an opportunity to update their selection for their student’s preferred attendance method in the third quarter. As such, we will provide another opportunity from January 4 through 8 to update their ParentVUE selection if they want to make a change for their student to attend in-person or virtually in the third quarter, should health conditions permit us to open per the dates the school board approved at the last meeting. Only those who plan to make a change would need to do so. 
  12. We continue to prepare for the return of our students to our school buildings. Thanks to the IT staff working hard every Sunday this month, the network upgrade is now complete, and the 100 Gigabit network is available to all schools. Headsets and webcams are being delivered this week to schools, with priority to PreK-3, and all other grades by November 12. Additionally, the Division is expected to be fully 1-to-1 with computers a month earlier than planned, and will be fully implemented by winter break. 
  13. Also, some of our students are currently participating in out of season conditioning for sports, following several safety guidelines including social distancing. Winter sports, including basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swim, dive, and wrestling, are scheduled to begin as early as December 7 and some student clubs have begun to meet as well. As with in person learning, athletics and in-person activities may be adjusted based on changing health guidance and/or pandemic health metrics. 
  14. Thank you and stay safe and healthy.